Would you Rather Work for a Good or Bad Manager?


I recently had a discussion with someone who said he believed that it was better to have a bad boss than a good boss. While I agree we can learn from both kinds of bosses, I am much more effective working for someone who is a good boss! He disagreed and said having a bad boss was a motivator. Where do you stand on this issue?

We all probably have different criteria for what makes a good/bad manager. Here is what I think and please let me know your thoughts on this subject!

A good manager is clear about expectations. Have you ever had a boss who gave you an assignment and after you completed it said, “that’s not what I wanted?” Some of the blame might fall on you for not asking clarifying questions but I think most of the issue is with a boss who just issues orders and isn’t clear about expectations. So, if you are a manager, be clear when you give an assignment and if you are the employee, ask enough clarifying questions to be sure you are on the right track. And, here is where the real issue is I believe—there are managers who don’t take the time toprovide the information the employee needsto do the job successfully. Some do it intentionally to see if the employee can figure it out and others may just be pressed for time. It is critical that there be clarity before beginning a task so ask and answer!

A good manager takes an interest in the development of each employee he/she manages. Good managers know they are nothing without great people to support them so don’t you want your employees to be constantly building their skill? And it is good to remember that people can only achieve what they are capable of achieving and so it is a good manager who focuses attention on helping employees increase their capabilities. However, if you’ve done everything you can and then employee is unable to do the job, a good manager deals with it as quickly and humanely as possible because a non-performer has a significant impact on your good employees.

A good manager supports his/her employees. This does not mean blind allegiance but does mean that you need to do everything possible to privately and publically support the people who report to you. This means you do not blame one of your people—you take one “for the team.” Supporting your staff members will encourage them to do their best and take calculated risks which will expand their capabilities.

A good manager deals with problems and issues quickly. It is highly frustrating for your employees if they’ve brought you a problem and you ignore it hoping it will resolve itself or “go away!” Problems rarely do—they need quick attention. Ignoring an issue that is important to your team may cause people to lose respect for you and without the respect of your employees, you can’t be a leader!

A good manager coaches and mentors his/her employees. He/she sees this as an opportunity to be an inspiration to all. Being a manager isn’t easy but developing people is one of the greatest joys we have in our business careers! How wonderful it is to see your direct reports learn, develop, and grow into business leaders themselves! You’ve got the opportunity to make it happen and I hope you take this challenge seriously and be a good, if not great manager!

Good manger—bad manager—where do you stand on this issue?

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